A Bulawayo High Court judge on Thursday granted bail to seven Chinese nationals who are facing charges of money laundering and illegally possessing more than 20kg of rhino horn pieces with a combined value of close to $1 million.
Justice Maxwell Takuva granted the Chinese RTGS$5000 each.
Justice Takuva also ordered the group to report three times a day at Victoria Falls police station and also to surrender their travel documents to the clerk of court.
In addition, the High Court judge ordered the Chinese not to travel beyond a radius of ten kilometres outside Victoria Falls without notifying the authorities.
One of the accused‘s lawyers, Givemore Muvhiringi said he is very happy with the granting of bail to his clients.
“I am happy my clients have been granted bail. They have been in remand prison for a long time,” said Muvhiringi in a telephone interview.
The seven Chinese nationals Zeng Dengui (35), Peicon Jang (35), Liu Cheng (23), Yu Xian (25), Yong Zhu (25), Chen Zhiangfu (30) and Quil Jinchang (29) have been languishing in remand prison since their arrest on December 23 last year after being found in possession of several pieces of rhino horns weighing 20, 98kg.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and had approached the High Court for a review of a decision by Hwange regional magistrate Collect Ncube to dismiss their application for discharge.
Their lawyers had made an application for dismissal of the case, arguing that the state had failed to prove a prime facie case against them.
Muvhiringi said following Justice Takuva’s ruling, the defence is now seeking to have a date for the hearing of the accused‘s application for review of magistrate Ncube‘s ruling.